Polish Premier Tusk receives prestigious Charlemagne Prize
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk was awarded the prestigious Charlemagne Prize at a ceremony in the German city of Aachen on Thursday, DPA reported.
Tusk was given the award, one of Germany's top prizes for public service, for being a "convincing and convinced European."
During the award ceremony, Tusk was lauded as an outstanding proponent of freedom, democracy and human rights, who never yielded to the communist regime in Poland.
This is the third time a Pole has won the Charlemagne Prize, which honours efforts towards European unity. Previous recipients include the late Polish foreign minister Bronislaw Geremek and the late Pope John Paul II.
The mayor of Aachen, Marcel Philipp, said Europe needs people such as Tusk to lead the way in the crisis, referring to debt problems in Greece that caused fear and weakened trust in the euro currency.
Philipp described Poland as "eastern Europe's ambassador in the European Union."
Tusk, a trained historian from Gdansk, became prime minister in 2007 and brought to an end a period of friction between Warsaw and other EU leaders. The centre-right leader has spoken up for Polish interests and traditions while avoiding isolationism.
As prime minister, he has favoured Poland cooperating with other EU nations and worked to ease recent friction with Germany.
The prize is named after Emperor Charlemagne (768-814). It is managed by the city of Aachen, once the capital of Charlemagne's European medieval empire.